2017 Status of the Eastern Bering Sea Marine Ecosystem
The goals of the Ecosystem Considerations report are to (1) provide stronger links between ecosystem research and fishery management and to (2) spur new understanding of the connections between ecosystem components by bringing together the results of diverse research efforts into one document. Beginning in 2016, we split the report into four separate documents, one for the Gulf of Alaska, Aleutian Islands, eastern Bering Sea, and the Arctic.
The purpose of the first section, the Report Card(s), is to summarize the status of the top indicators selected by teams of ecosystem experts to best represent each ecosystem. Time series of indicators are presented in figures formatted similarly to enable comparisons across indicators. Recent trends in climate and the physical environment, ecosystems, and fishing and fisheries are highlighted in bulleted lists.
The purpose of the second section, the Executive Summary, is to provide a concise summary of the status of marine ecosystems in Alaska for stock assessment scientists, fishery managers, and the public. Page links to sections with more detail are provided.
The purpose of the third section, the Ecosystem Assessment, is to synthesize historical climate and fishing effects on Alaskan marine ecosystems using information from the Ecosystem Status and Management Indicators section and stock assessment reports. Notable items, called “Hot Topics”, that capture unique occurrences, changes in trend direction, or patterns across indicators are highlighted at the beginning. An ongoing goal is to produce ecosystem assessments utilizing a blend of data analysis and modeling to clearly communicate the current status and possible future directions of ecosystems. This year, we expanded the Fishing and Human Dimensions section to more broadly reflect aspects of our role in the ecosystem. In doing so, we organized this new section around a proposed set of ecosystem-scale objectives derived from U.S. legislation and current management practices (Table 1). We are considering reformatting the entire report by management objectives in future editions. Note: In this year’s report, the Ecosystem Status indicators remain organized by trophic level.